The more the odds are stacked against Severna Park's boys soccer team, the more it wins the admiration of veteran coach Don Gregg.
The Falcons are winning plenty of games, as well, including last night's 5-3 decision over co-No. 14 Old Mill that enabled them to clinch the top seeding in Region IV.
Senior Mark Casper and sophomore Scott Neuberger each had two goals and an assist for co-No. 4 Severna Park (10-1), which entered the game one point ahead of Old Mill (8-2-1) in the region.
Nothing has come easily for the Falcons. They lost, 1-0, in overtime to Calvert Hall in the season's first game, and later lost five players for the rest of the season for disciplinary reasons.
"We have a lot of talent and they're working together, though it doesn't always look like it," said Gregg, whose team has won six straight since the dismissals.
"We have a lot of solid players with some good senior leadership and some good underclassmen."
One of those underclassmen, Neuberger, began the year on the junior varsity before he was called up as part of the roster shuffle.
"He wasn't quite ready to start the season with us," Gregg said, "but we knew he was close."
Neuberger gave Severna Park a 1-0 lead when he gathered a loose ball and scored from about 12 yards out at 10:49. Old Mill's Dan Knight scored the equalizer less than two minutes later off a pass from Nick Badalian.
Severna Park reclaimed the lead when Casper converted a pass from Neuberger at 25:47. He has 11 goals and 10 assists and become the first Severna Park player in double figures in both categories.
After Falcons goalkeeper Adam Hurst snared a shot from Old Mill's Bob Thomas, Neuberger scored again on a slow roller into the left corner of the net at 36:07.
Old Mill reduced the lead to 3-2 early in the second half on Badalian's goal.
Severna Park took advantage of its reprieve when Casper sent a crossing pass to Aaron Duca, who put his shot into an open net for a 4-2 lead at 14:32. Old Mill never got closer than two goals the rest of the game, though it had plenty of chances in the last 10 minutes.